Poetry News

Teaching Molecular Concepts Through Verse

By Harriet Staff

Taking "write what you know" to a whole new level, Mala Radhakrishnan has recently published a book of "poetry chemistry" called Atomic Romances, Molecular Dances. Check out this PBS article, with two videos, one an interview, the other a reading, for more. Still somehow not sold? Check it:

In Mala Radhakrishnan's world, where oxygen and palladium atoms clamor to get into the most sought-after beaker and tortured carbon atoms become boron swans, chemistry is rift with mystery, jealousy and, yes, romance.

Radhakrishnan, assistant professor at Wellesley College, has recently released a book on poetry chemistry, called "Atomic Romances, Molecular Dances." Her aim is to use poetry, but also easy-to-understand analogies to teach such subjects as thermodynamics, kinetics and molecular reactions.

She wrote her first poem for an on-campus poetry reading, and the feedback was so good that she kept writing them, eventually becoming known in the Boston poetry scene, though typecast, she says with a laugh, as the chemistry poet. Poem titles include "The Flirt and the Inert," "Bridge Over Troubled H20," and the "Amalgam in the Middle."

Write on, Ms./Mrs. Radhakrishnan.

Originally Published: November 18th, 2011